Inclusive Language

I have a freelance business (and a day job) in which I write back of the book indexes. This isn’t a shameless plug for my business – and I doubt seriously that prospective authors and publishes will stumble across this blog anyway 🙂

 Currently I am working on an index for textbook on international political theory, and have noted something rather odd about the gender articles being used.

Some time ago political correctness hit the scene, and it was said to be a bad thing to use “him” or “his” or “man” or the like because it left women out. I always thought that was silly, but this isn’t about my perspective of PC language. It is about a change that seems to have happened – at least in this small part of academia from which this text hails.

While, apparently, it is bad to use the term “him” or “his”, it seems to be a good thing to go the oppposite way. For example:

 “. . . by stressing that an enlightened human being was capable of recognizing her own best interests and pursuing those interests. . .”

I’ve seen this elsewhere in the text – am I the only one that finds this an odd choice of terms? I guess that only women are capable of being enlightened human beings, eh?


The text is actually interesting, but every time I read a sentence constructed like this it trips me up.

 Ok, back to work.